With school starting four weeks ago and our family moving three weeks ago, life has been a little more chaotic around here than usual. We’re trying to develop new routines in our new home, and some things are going more smoothly than others.
I am not a morning person. Repeat: I am not a morning person! I need things to be done the night before so that I can just kind of fumble through my morning with a glazed look in my eyes. Don’t ask me hard questions, don’t expect me to help you with your homework. If I pack a lunch in the morning, it’s not going to be very imaginative (think SBJ — Sunbutter & jelly). And if it’s up to me to come up with breakfast before the sun rises, a bowl of cereal is what you’re going to get.
I have learned to set my alarm a good 30 minutes early in the mornings. Sometimes I can be somewhat productive with this time, but usually, I just need that time to sip my V8 + Energy (my version of coffee) and stare into nothingness. Maybe look at Pinterest or something not too engaging. Just some quiet alone time before the kids get up.
I used to get up at the very-last-second I possibly could, eeking out every single extra bit of sleep I could manage, thinking this was what I needed. I would then head straight to the bathroom to start getting ready, wake the kids and off we went with our day.
But I was always a grump!
I hate waking up in the mornings. HATE IT! I’m 35 years old, and I still feel like a teenager who just wants, “five more minutes!”
It was just last year when my husband (then boyfriend) suggested that I try waking up early to have some extra time for… whatever I wanted.
PSHAW! Right! I laughed and scoffed. That was preposterous! I have enough trouble waking up at my normal time, I certainly wasn’t going to deprive myself of any more sleep trying to rouse myself an extra half hour early.
Being the caring, loving girlfriend I was, I decided to give it a shot… you know, so I could prove to him that it wouldn’t actually work. That I would be terribly grumpy all day long all because I took his suggestion and set the alarm early. But you know what? Dammit if he wasn’t right. I don’t do much with my extra 30 minutes, but just having that quiet time before I really start my day makes a world of difference. It allows me to get my grumpiness out before the kids wake up and I start showering it onto them. I’m still just as tired and grumpy when the alarm goes off, but I’m not any more tired and grumpy at 6:15 than I was at 6:45. So I might as well get up, sip my juice, stare at my phone and slowly wake up instead of forcing myself to be up and at ’em as soon as the bell rings.
Now, just because I’m not grumpy and groggy when the kids get up does not mean I want to make a big breakfast. The only reason I can normally function through my morning is because I’ve done the majority of the work the day or evening before.
Trevor usually eats school lunch, so that’s easy peasy. But with Jillian’s food allergies, school lunch is practically a foreign subject. I try to pack her lunch after dinner the night before whenever possible, and I stick it in the fridge. The only exception to this rule is if I’m going to pack her pasta or something warm. Even then, I will cook the pasta the night before and get the other parts of her lunch ready, so I only have to warm it up and stick it in her lunch bag in the morning.
Breakfast is the same way. I need to have something planned, preferably cooked already, for them to sit down with before they head off to the bus stop. I’m still building up my allergy-friendly repertoire of breakfast goodies, but I’ve got a few delicious staples so far, including these absolutely delicious and healthy banana oatmeal breakfast cookies that both of my kids beg for on a regular basis.
When we were living with my mom, she would often make things like pancakes for breakfast before school. That was great! The kids loved it, and mom loved making them. She is very much a morning person, unlike her daughter. I want to make sure that I have yummy and fun breakfasts covered, so they don’t feel like I’m just shoving bowls of dry cereal at them all the time.
This is my answer to mom’s delicious pancake breakfasts…
Mini Pancake Bites with Mix-ins!
I didn’t come up with this idea. I actually saw it on Pinterest, but it wasn’t Jillian-friendly. That recipe has milk and eggs, two things we must avoid completely. I decided to do what I’ve been doing for nearly a decade now and take a regular recipe and make it safe!
First, I tried making our regular vegan pancake recipe, pouring it into mini muffin tins and baking it. That did not work so well. The “muffins” were breaking apart and very hard to get out of the tins. They kind of rose way up and spread out, running out over the edge of the molds. They tasted good, but overall they were not what I was looking for.
Instead I decided to take the exact recipe I had seen on Pinterest, and substitute the eggs and milk as needed. That worked with perfect results! It’s more of a “cake batter” recipe that uses buttermilk, and luckily I know exactly how to make vegan buttermilk for baking!
To make vegan “buttermilk”
For every cup of non-dairy milk, add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Stir it up and let it sit a few minutes. With certain types of non-dairy milk, you’ll actually see it start to curdle. Soy milk and almond milk curdle the most, in my experience, and rice milk the least. But any kind will work in these baking recipes.
The other substitute I had to make was of course the eggs. You can use Ener-G Egg Replacer powder, but if you don’t have that on hand, don’t worry! There’s an easy egg substitute you can make from what you already have in your pantry. Ready? Here it is:
1 tsp baking powder + 1½ Tbsp oil + 1½ Tbsp water = 1 egg
I like to put the ingredients in a small container and shake it up, rather than trying to stir the lumps out. Just know that it will bubble and fizz quite a bit, so give it a good shake and then take the lid off to let the gas out.
With my “buttermilk” and “egg” ready, I combined my dry ingredients, my wet ingredients and then I folded them together. I used a large spoon to drop batter into my greased mini muffin tins.
The batter was pretty runny. I noticed in the Pinterest recipe that the batter looked thick, almost like you could scoop it out. No worries — this thinner batter worked just fine!
Next, you get to have a little fun! What do your kids like on their pancakes? Or what do you think they might eat if you hide it in these pancake bites? Time to bust out the mix-ins!
My kiddos love all of these toppings, so I knew they would gobble them up. I chose bacon crumbles, blueberries and mini chocolate chips (from Enjoy Life Foods). Something savory, something healthy and something sweet. YUM!
I dropped some of the toppings directly on top of the batter. I didn’t stir them in or anything. Just drop and go!
They baked up perfectly.
Let me tell you, these little puppies were so delicious, that I ate almost half a dozen of them while I was taking pictures. Oops! Especially the bacon ones dipped in some maple syrup… mmmmmmmmmmm!
This is definitely a new breakfast staple for us. The kids loved them! I even packed a few in Jillian’s lunch today as a sweet surprise. The best part is, you’ll never get bored with them! If my kids tire of the mix-ins I used here, I’ll change things up and use dried cranberries, sausage crumbles and sprinkles!
What are you going to mix into yours?
- 1 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg's worth of egg replacer (1 tsp baking powder + 1 ½ Tbsp oil + 1 ½ Tbsp water, mixed)
- 1 ½ Tbsp non-dairy margarine, melted
- Mix-ins: bacon crumbles, blueberries, mini chocolate chips, etc.
- Maple syrup for serving